Allocations from the EU’s proposed recovery fund should be based on the downturn in countries’ growth due to the coronavirus crisis and not on the basis of their past economic performance, according to Czech PM Andrej Babis.
“We will see the impact of the pandemic next year and this impact will be mainly in GDP. So this should be the most, the biggest criteria,” he said on Friday on arrival for a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels to discuss a joint recovery plan.
The Czech Republic “was one of the best on unemployment, one of the best-concerning debt to GDP and also we have growth – and it is not possible to penalize successful countries because they were successful,” Reuters quoted him as saying. “Money should be distributed correctly and fairly,” the PM added.
“The approval of the agreement and the EU budget for the next period is positive news for the domestic economy, as the total amount of money allocated to the Czech Republic will be higher than proposed in the original plan,” said ING Bank’s chief economist Jakub Seidler.
According to Deloitte’s chief economist for the Czech Republic, David Marek, the adoption of the recovery fund, albeit in a compromised form, is essential for the Czech Republic.
“For the Czech economy, it is fundamental that thanks to this fund, the recovery of European economies can be faster and more sustainable,” he said.
After almost five days of often tense negotiations, EU leaders reached a “historic” deal on the bloc’s long-term budget and coronavirus recovery package to the tune of €750 billion to rebuild EU economies.
The deal earmarks huge sums for providing funds to businesses to rebound hurt by the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, roll out new measures to reform economies over the long haul, and invest to help protect against “future crises”.
The European Commission will borrow the money on financial markets and distribute just under half of it — €390 billion — as grants to the hardest-hit members of the bloc, with the rest, provided as loans.
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The Czech Republic is interested in having normal relations with Russia, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told CTK on Wednesday.
“We are interested in normal relations with Russia,” he stressed. He expressed hope that the issues arising in the relations between both states would be regulated on the outcomes of mutual talks. He added that the Czech Republic approaches the organization of such talks “very responsibly.”
Babis expressed hope that the Russian-Czech talks stipulated under the 1993 Friendship and Cooperation Treaty would lead to the meeting between Russian and Czech leaders. “The fact that the Czech-Russian relations are not ideal is not surprising neither to us nor to Russians. This is why we have agreed to begin Czech-Russian consultations,” the PM noted.
During the talks, the parties will assess the state of Russian-Czech relations and regulate the existing disputes. The Czech government is interested in developing cooperation between both states, Babis added.
The Czech PM’s words came as a follow-up to the earlier statement made by Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that so far, no high-or top-level talks are planned between Russia and the Czech Republic.
When asked about the state of Russian-Czech relations due to recent events, namely the arrest of Ivan Safronov, advisor to the head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, for alleged handover of sensitive information to the Czech special services, Peskov mentioned another incident: the demolition of the monument to Soviet marshal Ivan Konev in Prague.
“Recently, our relations with the Czech Republic have been marred by certain events and certain unfriendly steps taken by the municipal and Czech government,” Peskov noted. “This has had a negative effect on the general state of our bilateral relations, however, Russia calls for good relations with all countries, including the Czech Republic,” the Kremlin spokesman said.